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From the cast iron Stabroek Market clock tower to the Umana Yana's thatched Benab Guyana's architecture is as diverse as its history.
Intricate wooden colonial architecture tuned to the demands of a tropical climate; huge expanses of untouched Amazonian rainforest, mountain ranges, large rivers and sweeping savannahs; donkey carts and scooters driving side-by-side with monster 4X4s and sleek sports cars; wide boulevards criss-crossed with flood canals; a culture.
About 90% of Guyana's 770,000 inhabitants live along the agriculturally rich coastal plains, where the main crops are rice and sugar cane. This part of Guyana is at or slightly below sea level and much of is protected from sea flooding by a Dutch-built dyke locally known as the "Seawall", as well as an elaborate system of dams and canals. Almost half the population, about 350,000, lives in and around the bustling, yet laid back, capital Georgetown which sits on the northern coast at the mouth of the Demerara River.
At 214,969 sq km, Guyana is roughly the size of the UK and is bordered to the north by the Atlantic, to the west by Venezuela, to the east by Suriname, and Brazil to the south. The three main geographical areas are the coastal belt, the mountainous rainforest areas and the savannah plains. At 2,180 m, Mount Roraima is Guyana's highest point, although the mountain lies partly in both Venezuela and Brazil. Guyana is also noted for its many rivers, including the Berbice, the Demerara and, largest of them all, the Essequibo which contains 365 islands and has an estuary over 20 miles wide! Life in Guyana is dominated by these mighty rivers which provide passageways into the unspoilt rainforests of the interior. Guyana's mineral wealth can be found inland, with gold and diamonds being the most important.
The vast natural resources of Guyana have also provided the raw materials for a significant craft and art industry, diversely fashioned by an equally diverse population, including Amerindians, Africans, East Indians, Portuguese, Chinese, and Europeans - the 6 races of Guyana. The varied peoples have also spawned varied cuisines and religions, and many different holidays and festivals on which they are enjoyed and celebrated!
Tourism is an emerging industry for Guyana, that continues to grow with the increased awareness of Guyana as an incredible Amazon adventure, not to mention varying topography, Guyana is well on its way to developing an incredible nature based destination for the future. Being the tropics, site-seeing is available all through the year. The country has numerous large waterfalls, vast tropical rainforest and savannah replete with wildlife such as the jaguar, giant otter, Harpy eagle and arapaima, the world's largest species of freshwater fish. Shell Beach, which runs for over 100 miles along the northern coast, is famous for its large numbers of nesting turtles and other wildlife.
The equatorial climate is hot and humid, but moderated by northeast trade winds and two rainy seasons. The best time to visit Guyana depends on your plans. If visiting Kaieteur falls (the star attraction) at its peak is your fancy, the end of either rainy season (mid-January or mid-August) is your best bet, though some locals say mid-October or mid-May is better, when it may be wet but not so hot. Travelling by land to the interior is much easier during the dry seasons. Or maybe seeing the vaqueros do their thing at a South American style rodeo at Lethem on the Rupununi will bring you here at Easter time!
We invite you to visit, experience for yourself and create your own memories...